Skype for Business Online to retire in July 2021

Skype for Business Online is heading for well-deserved retirement. The instant messaging solution will bow out of service on July 31, 2021 with the secure Office 365 unified communications hub platform Teams taking up the video calling and chat reins.

Here we outline the Skype for Business Online retirement plan and summarise how we can help you migrate to Teams – the highly effective new kid on the block which has been proving its worth as a collaborative teamwork hub since its launch just over two years ago winning over 13 million users globally.

What's the plan?

Well you won’t be able to access Skype for Business Online from July 31, 2021 but you can keep on using it until then and add new users as needed. From September 1, 2019, all new Office 365 customers will be directly onboarded to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling.

Why should we change?

Quite simply Teams brings about a whole new and more efficient way of working. It combines chat, video, calling, and document collaboration into a single, integrated app. Since the launch of Teams, Microsoft has worked closely with customers to refine the platform and it’s now confident it can recommend it as an upgrade for all Skype for Business Online customers.

Don't just take our word for it

Customers who have moved to Teams - including the UAE’s Aswaaq supermarket chain, the local pioneer of intelligent shopping solutions - have reported back that the platform has given them an opportunity to rethink their working practices. Feedback says users have become more collaborative in their work which has led to great efficiency, shortened cycle times, reduced overheads and more informed employees – all huge benefits in today’s fiercely competitive business environment.

Teams is much more than a Skype for Business Online upgrade though, it’s a powerful tool that opens up entirely new ways of doing business. The Forrester whitepaper ‘The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Teams,’ compiled from feedback from numerous users puts Teams benefits into sharp focus. They include:

Reduction in number and duration of meetings: meetings via Teams are more reliable and of very high audio-video quality, resulting in less time spent addressing setup and call-quality issues. Companies reported reduced web conferencing, long-distance, mobile phone, and on-premises telephony solutions costs by switching to Teams.

Improved collaboration and information sharing: features like co-authoring and version control, searching documents, conversations, and names available in one place enables information workers to more effectively and efficiently collaborate in real time.

Quicker decision-making: having information and resources readily available via the Teams shared workspace and being able to confer with peers more efficiently enables executives to make decisions faster.

Happier workforce: improved worker satisfaction, integration, and empowerment reduce attrition rates what’s more Teams reduces the time to train and onboard new hires.

How do you migrate to Teams?

We know from experience that migration requires time and effort – and we’re here to help. We’re totally on top of all Microsoft is doing to help those wanting to migrate and we can put all the product investments to use for you.

For instance, Microsoft is offering new retention period options that will allow customers to limit channel and chat retention periods to as short as 1 day and ensure that when data is deleted it is removed from all permanent storage locations in the Teams service. Shorter Retention Periods will be available in Teams by the end of this year.

Interoperability between Teams and Skype Consumer will allow users of the two to communicate using both chat and calling. Teams and Skype Consumer Interop will be available in Teams in Q1 2020.

Microsoft is working with other Skype for Business Online certified partners to bring Contact Center and Compliance Recording solutions to market for Teams.

Ready, set, go

When you’re ready to get started, Cobweb’s here to help with technical guidance and FastTrack onboarding assistance. What’s more, there won’t be a better time to explore Teams’ potential as Microsoft is offering a free six-month Teams trial for businesses with:

Exchange Online (Exchange Plan 1 or 2)

Office 365 ProPlus

Office 365 Business

Dynamics 365

If you’re a current Skype for Business Online customer, start planning your migration today. We’ll help you every step of the way so you too can experience the new way to work.

Please note: both the Skype consumer service and Skype for Business server will be unaffected.

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